Beach House – Bloom
Beach House’s Bloom is really mellow. At times, one might wish that it would pick up some steam, lose its temper, shout, or—at the least—get excited; but, it refuses to succumb to measures that are clearly below it. What the listener ends up with is pleasant track after pleasant track that will whist him/her away to a dream-fueled, comfy-sock romp on corn syrup clouds.
Band member Alex Scalley mentions online that many songs were scrapped because they didn’t fit the vision of the complete album. The vision they were aiming for is apparent and is both a strength and a weakness. It’s a strength because each song molds into the next and works as a whole to create one mood and a distinct sound. It’s a weakness because, due to this mellow goal, the songs also start to sound monotonous and indistinct. However, the album is not without surprises.
A two-minute outro unfolds a secret song on the final track, “Irene.” The unspoken rule of secret songs is that they should be a track that is different in tone from the rest of the album and/or they should be funny. This is neither: it feels like any other track on the album. What’s the point of burying a perfectly good song? Surprise! Yes! A secret song—oh, wait, nope, no surprise at all. It’s the same as the rest of the album. At least it doesn’t follow the Juliana Theory/Of Montreal/Cracker folly of putting the album’s best track in the secret zone. This track is average.
Another surprise is the vocalist, Victoria Legrand, is a lady. I listened to the album twice thinking I was hearing a man’s beautiful alto voice. Nope. Not important, but surprising.
The tracks on this album meld together with precision and grace. This makes it particularly difficult to point out outstanding tracks besides just saying “pick any track and you won’t be disappointed.” Seriously.
It starts strong with the mesmerizing and melancholy “Myth” and moves into the more commanding “Wild” before slightly shifting tones to a more 70’s-synth approach on “Lazuli.” Any of these tracks are a great listen, but “Lazuli” has more instant appeal and doesn’t suffer from the sometimes silly lyrics of “Wild.” The album lulls for a moment but then picks back up with “Troublemaker” and apexes with the track “On the Sea.”
Bloom is worth a listen. The album transports the listener to a beach house where they watch the spring come to life in full bloom. It’s not often a band’s name also nails its genre.
Written by Rob Watkins